February 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Shinola to pay homage to Kern's clock with 'city clocks'

The 13-foot-tall clocks will be paid for by Detroit-based Shinola, built in Massachusetts and donated to four organizations or businesses within city limits. (Shinola)

In a nod to the historic Kern’s Department Store clock on Woodward Avenue, watch and bicycle-maker Shinola plans to install four “city clocks” in Detroit by early next month.

The 13-foot-tall clocks will be paid for by Detroit-based Shinola, built in Massachusetts and donated to four organizations or businesses within city limits. The first clock will go up at Cobo Center; the three other locations have yet to be named.

Jacques Panis, Shinola’s president, hopes the boutique watch- and bike-maker’s first foray into clock-making will catch on in other cities.

“They’re just really beautiful city clocks that we felt would really show that the craftsmanship and skill is here and remains in this country,” he said. “We heard from many people that the Kern’s clock was a very popular meeting spot, so it’s a bit of a nod to that.

“It’s a gift to the people of Detroit and the region.”

All four clocks will be up and running by the start of Daylight Savings Time, March 9.

The Cobo clock will temporarily go up at the southwest corner of Washington Boulevard and West Larned Street, before being moved to the Cobo Square outside its new food court.

Panis said the clocks will be built by Electric Time Company, a 1900s-era custom clock maker in Massachusetts.

The design is based of a yet-to-be-released pocket watch that will honor Henry Ford as part of Shinola’s Great Americans series. Last year, the company released a custom watch and bicycle in honor of the Wright brothers and their first flight.

“We’re extremely excited the reception to these clocks has been great,” Panis said. “This goes back to how wonderful the entire city of Detroit has been in terms of supporting Shinola.”

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The first clock will go up at Cobo Center; the three other locations have ... (Shinola)